on digging, drawing, and discovering a van gogh

last week i had a go at scaling up one of my own drawings … this one metre square print-out of a scanned lichen drawing came out quite well but the component parts were quite fiddly to join up with tape.. shown here on the floor with the original drawing in a sketchbook… (the ‘mosaic’ refused to stay up on the wall)…

this is the original drawing, 15cm x 15cm… see more lichen drawings here…

lichen drawings - jazz green

these lichen drawings, though beginning as observational studies, soon become re-imaginings – re-interpreted, flattened, schematic….

here are some more smalll lichen drawings in black pen in a sketchbook, early june 2010…

lichen drawing - sketchbook

lichen ink drawing

lichen drawing -pen on paper

these drawings are perhaps not so far removed from my large rust/decay paintings, as both involve a re-imagining of surface, playing with scale and magnification… i would be quite happy with a microscope today…

a word that comes to mind is geomorphology, which is quite separate from the appropriation of the term landscape (by the English) and notions of the natural environment – words which nearly always imply a concrete vista, a horizon, a sky, a cultural or subjective reconstruct of a landscape made more tangible or meaningful by the viewer, sentimental in the widest sense… but these are just thoughts…

last week i spent a couple of hours digging the garden to plant out peas and french beans, then later that same day came across this framed picture in a charity shop… I had to buy it, even though it cost me my last £5…

Vincent van Gogh - peasant woman digging - black chalk drawing - 1885

Vincent van Gogh, Peasant woman digging, Nueuen, 1885

this drawing is, as far as i can ascertain, ‘actual size’ at about 40 x 50cm although the drawing is cropped slightly to fit within the mount – nevertheless it is delightful to look at, the reproduction being of a very fine quality… and i am certain this is one of the peasant women drawings included in the recent Royal Academy exhibition… Vincent mentions drawing these peasant figures in a letter to Theo in early July 1885:

I’m sorry about what you write about the money, that you’ll be short yourself. Painting is sometimes so damned expensive, and nowadays it just comes down to following one’s own idea at all costs. [...] I’ve got a few figures here, a woman with a spade seen from behind, another one bending over to glean ears of corn, another one from the front with her head almost on the ground, digging up carrots.

Vincent van Gogh to brother Theo van Gogh, Monday, 6 July 1885

i might be adding another exhibition to my roster this summer, having received an invitation to exhibit some of my work in a contemporary art show, the broad theme of the exhibition appeals, having some philosophical relevance… details and works to confirm…

2 Comments

  1. Posted June 23, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all your recent comments, Jazz – much appreciated as always. I’ll respond to them at source.

    I’ve been intending to post this point & link to this particular entry of yours, but right here seems an appropriate place to mention it also – whilst I’m considering & rambling-on about the possibility of scaling-up work, you’re actually practically doing so presenting the results for all to see (actually it’s fascinating to see such an enlargement of an originally very small source, how that becomes something ‘other’, a significant re-imagining of, how a natural phenomenon develops its own & a new aesthetic life).
    Perhaps that’s the difference between being an artist & an ‘artist’..!

  2. Jazz
    Posted June 25, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    thank you for your comment, James… the transformation into something ‘other’ (perceived or believed) is what truly fascinates me – and here, it seemed so simple a process, of scaling-up – just to see what it might look like ‘large’, how it might be re-interpreted – and what might result could be quite phantasmagorical or even grotesque… alas, i only have a tiny ’studio’…